MEMBERSHIP MEETING MINUTES – October 10, 2020
MEMBERSHIP MEETING MINUTES – October 10, 2020
Stillwater Amateur Radio Association
Virtual membership meeting held via Webex due to the COVID-19 and the unavailability of Boutwells Landing meeting room.
President: Joe KCØOIO
The meeting was called to order at 9:04 AM.
Joe KC0OIO welcomed all to the on-line virtual membership meeting using Cisco Webex.
Secretary’s Report: Dave N9JNQ
The general minutes from the September Membership and Board meetings are posted on the SARA website.
Please report any corrections or additions to: Secretary@radioham.org
Treasurer’s Report: Rich ADØSN
Beginning Total Balance: 09/01/20 $16,472.25
Ending Balance: 09/30/20 $3,850.17
Ending Balance: 09/30/2020 $13,117.08
Ending Total Balance: 09/30/2020 $16,967.25
Rich AD0SN noted that he has recently received a number of checks for 2021 dues, which will be reflected on next month’s report.
Activities & Events
Webex Eyeballs/Tech/Skills Sessions
Joe KC0OIO reported that the Webex option for meetings and get-togethers has been working well. Thursday Night Tech Sessions are now going to be held once a month as opposed to bi-weekly. In place of the the alternative bi-weekly Thursday night Tech session, we will he holding the monthly SARA Board meeting.
“The Manhattan Project,” held every other Friday at 7:30 pm have also been successful. The next sessions will be held October 16 and 30.
The next Board meeting will be held Thursday October 22 at 6:30 pm.
A reminder that SARA has a social media presence on YouTube. Brian N0BJE set up a private channel for the club, and Tech Topic Thursday videos are available at youtube.com/ playlist?list =PLoaYHzHAObWTib9y95H
DRybbRIw cfiMW. The club can also be found on Facebook (SARA Stillwater Amateur Radio
Association) and Instagram (@sararadioham).
Training and Education
Bob W0GAF reported that the Tech class has wrapped up. Five students completed the class, and four plan to take the upcoming test. As SARA is unable to provide testing due to the unavailability of our Boutwells Landing testing room, SEMARC agreed to accommodate SARA graduates at an October 17 session at its facility. Thanks to SEMARC for making this testing possible. A review session is planned for October 15. Bob thanked all the instructors who did their sessions virtually. The General class is tentatively planned to begin in January 2021 dependent on how the tech testing goes. The class will in all likelihood be done virtually.
Remembering the Edmund Fitzgerald Special Event – Dave W0OXB
The Remembering the Edmund Fitzgerald Special Event will take place this year on November 6 through 8, 2020. Brad VE3MXJ noted that the event is listed in the November issue of QST. Information for the public regarding the special event has been posted to the QRZ website under the club call, W0JH, by Shel N0DRX.
As previously announced, due to COVID, the operations will not take place at Split Rock Lighthouse State Park; rather, there will be distributed operations by individual operators working from home stations or portable stations. We will be using two call signs: W0JH for SSB and W0F for CW and digital operations. Digital operations will most likely be limited to PSK31 and FT8, although SSTV operations is encouraged. Dave W0OXB suggested any questions be directed to Joe KC0OIO or Bob W0GAF.
General online operator sign up via SignupGenius will open October 12, at which time an email will be sent to all SARA members with the link to SignupGenius. Joe provided the link to attendees via the Webex chat. Ten to twelve members who had previously expressed interest in participating in the special event have had an early opportunity to schedule shifts. However, there are still plenty of choice time slots remaining. Joe demonstrated how to sign up using SignupGenius.
Bob added that Dave K0AIF created commemorative bottles containing Lake Superior water and pebbles with a classy label commemorating the “Loss of the Edmund Fitzgerald.” Dave made the “Spirit of the Edmund Fitzgerald Crew” bottles available to members at this summer’s only Radios in the Park event, but has about ten bottles remaining which are available to SARA members. If you are interested in your own bottle, please contact Dave for pickup at his QTH.
SARA Nets & Ragchews – Dave W0OXB & Joe KC0OIO
160 Top Band Evening Round Robin Ragchew (“RRR”) has continued to be popular, with Dave W0OXB reporting that in the past couple of months the group has been moving to 75 meters due to poor conditions on 160 and/or to accommodate folks that do not have 160 capabilities. However, recently 75 meters has deteriorated and we have been back to 160. Participation has varied from 10 to 15 check-ins.
The Monday morning 75 meter net has made its seasonal shift from 8:15 AM to 9:00 AM. The net can be found at 3.856 MHZ, with an average of 5 to 7 check-ins, although this past Monday had 12 check-ins.
The SARA W0JH 2 meter repeater noon hour “Lunch Room” runs through the noon hour Monday thru Friday. Joe KC0OIO has been tied up with work this past mid-week, so was not available to handle net control duties. Collin KE0IYN will fill in when available, but anyone can open the lunch room if neither are available. Joe reports that Monday had three check-ins, but Friday was quiet.
Two-meter Tuesday (TMT) has had pretty good attendance, averaging 6 to 7 check-ins. TMT can be found on the SARA repeater, operating 7:00 – 8:00 pm, with a 160 meter afterglow at 1.966 beginning at 8 pm. Thanks to Joe KC0OIO, Zack AA0U, Jim W0ELC, and Collin KE0IYN for handling net control duties for the net. The net could use a few more group leaders, so feel free to let Dave W0OXB if you have interest. Dave noted that running the net provides good experience.
The Wednesday night 2-meter net, hosted by Rick K0BR, continues its long run, beginning at 9:00 pm. The net regularly gets a few check-ins.
Joe KC0OIO reports that the Digital Net has returned Sundays at 7 PM CST. The net can be found at 3.584.15 MHz on your radio dial using USB unless the NCS indicates otherwise. The chosen mode for the week can be found on the weekly SARA Broadcast email from Joe, usually sent on Sunday.
M.A.P.: Dave WØOXB
Some repairs and new installations have been done, keeping in mind social distancing. Some members have ordered antenna materials, and antenna installation can be done in the winter months weather depending, and in some cases is easier due to less obstacles (leaves, etc.).
Please contact Dave W0OXB or a SARA officer if you need help, antenna or otherwise.
New Ham Resource Team: Brian N0BJE, Holly KE0RZZ, and Mark KE0QQN
Joe KC0OIO noted that the Board had some discussion as to whether to combine this group with M.A.P., but decided against it due to the fact that, as opposed to M.A.P., the New Ham Resource Team operates as an outreach program for SARA’s newly licensed members and not so newly licensed members.
Brian N0BJE notes that the club has available for loan are two Yaesu FT70DR HTs. With the installation of the Wires-X system on the W0JH 2-meter repeater, these HTs will provide members with an opportunity to try out the Fusion digital system and make DX contacts.
The KD0OTB Memorial Station is available for loan and includes an Icom 718 with power supply, an MFJ 949E tuner, coax, and an antenna. Brian has added a SignalLink digital interface to the station, which will allow for a user to try digital modes such as PSK31 and FT8, among others. This equipment is available to new hams and members who may be without equipment at the moment.
Brian noted that SARA has received a few donations of equipment lately, which the Board is endeavoring to get into the hands of licensed members who are having a difficult time getting on the air. Brian asked that if anyone has anything available to get folks on the air, please send them his way and he will work to see that the equipment is donated to needy members.
Washington County ARES: John KAØHYR
John KA0HYR was unavailable as he was participating ARES on-line activities today in preparation for the November 14 ARC/ARES Drill. Joe KC0OIO reports that the ARES October 1-2 drill went well.
Starting in November, the MARS (“Military Auxiliary Radio Service”) community will be executing Department of Defense (“DOD”) Communications Exercise (COMEX) 20-4. MARS members will use the exercise to continue training and refining their operator skills to provide situational awareness information, such as county status reports and weather observations.
The ARES net takes place on the 3rd Wednesday of each month on the 147.180 repeater at 6:30 PM. There is expanded coverage with the 147.180 repeater, which is running at the Newport site (PL 74.4) and the Forest Lake site (PL 100). This system covers the entirety of Washington County.
Check the web site regularly for current events, net schedule, and other items of significance: www.mnwashcoares.net.
DX News: Mike N0ODK
Joe KC0OIO reports that DX has been fairly quiet. However, DX is still out there for those willing to work for it. Get the latest DX news by subscribing to the ARRL DX News. Also check out www.ng3k.com for DX and the Contest Calendar.
Remote Base Project (RBP): Pat WA0TDA
See the latest SARA Signals Newsletter article by Pat WA0TDA for a discussion of the current status of the three remote basis. Pat reports that all three have been working well, and he has been surprised by the reliability this summer of remote base W0EQO in Park Rapids, MN, considering all the storms that have moved through the area. Pat notes that the WA0TDA and W0EQO remote stations have 160 to 6 meter capabilities. Pat has been seeing more CW used on the remote bases, primarily on 80 meters.
If you would like access to the remote stations, go to RemoteHams website to download the program, and contact Pat for permission to use the three remote base stations available.
Repeater News: Doug N9TOW
The SARA 2-meter fusion repeater and its WIRES X Link Node are up and running. The YSF reflector is getting finishing touches by Doug N9TOW and is awaiting installation at the QTH of Zack AAØU who has offered, an offer that has been accepted, his digs for the WIRES X station. The reflector will allow access to the repeater via hotspots.
Newsletter & Website: Pat WA0TDA & Dave W0OXB
Pat WA0TDA notes that the next membership meeting is scheduled for November 14, so would like to see submissions by the weekend of November 7-8. Additional contributors are always needed and welcome. Photos are also welcome.
North of the Border Report: Brad VE3MXJ
Brad VE3MXJ, SARA’s sole long-time (10 to 11 years) international member reported on his recent activities. Brad noted that he appreciated the Webex virtual meetings and gatherings as, without them, he would not be able to participate in club activities. He noted that he belongs to two clubs in Thunder Bay, as well as ARES organizations, that have all been holding virtual meetings.
Brad is a net control for the Maritime Mobile Service Network, the Hurricane Watch Net, and the Ontario ARES Net, as well as is the Emergency Coordinator for Thunder Bay, Ontario, ARES. He is also a recent member of CFARS, the Canadian equivalent of MARS. Joe KC0OIO thanked Brad for his activities, especially in the Hurricane Watch Net, which has been busy this season.
Thunder Bay ARES now a full-time EOC station located at the local Fire Hall, with cash for equipment donated by the Community Emergency Services. They are awaiting the raising of the HF antenna at the site.
Northwest Ontario ARES has weekly nets on Wednesdays at 21:00 UTC (5:00 PM EDT, 4:00 PM CDT) on the primary frequency of 3.675 MHz LSB (80 meters, as they call it north of the border). The group has been quite active following a change of leadership a year and a half ago. The District Emergency Coordinator is doing a fine job. There are currently eight emergency operation stations between Thunder Bay and the Ontario/Manitoba border. There has been quite a bit of training using Winlink as well as JS8Call, the latter of which has provided good communications when voice communications have been poor or nonexistent.
Brad will be participating in the annual ARES Simulated Emergency Test (“SET”) currently scheduled for October 31.
Brad reports that there are tentative plans for an international emergency training in June, 2021, involving the simulated collision of two freighters, one from Thunder Bay, ON, and one from Duluth, MN, carrying fuel oil, off the coast of Isle Royale National Park in Lake Superior. The control center will be out of Houghton, Michigan, up in the Upper Peninsula. There will be participation from ARES groups from Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Ontario, as well as the U.S. and Canadian Coast Guard. As with everything else, COVID may result in a change in plans and/or timing.
Brad has let the Thunder Bay Lakehead Amateur Radio Club know of the upcoming Edmund Fitzgerald special event, and it has been published in the club newsletter.
Brad assured Brian N0BJE that the Thunder Bay club is open to international members, raising Brian’s hope for a new T-Shirt.
SARA Dues: Joe KC0OIO noted that 2021 dues, which run from January 1 through December 31, can be sent to the club address:
Stillwater Amateur Radio Association
1618 Pine Street W
Stillwater, MN 55082
Please include your name and call sign with your payment. Coming soon is the option to pay online at the radioham.org website through PayPal. Payment by PayPal will include a service fee to be determined. Bob W0GAF, who has been working on the website application and PayPal option, reports that there will be three application options: one for new members; a shorter one for current members without any changes to their personal information; and one for current members that wish to report changes to personal information. Once the online application is filled out and the “submit” button is clicked, the information will go to Shel N0DRX (Shel handles membership), and the website will take you to a page that tells you where to send your check for dues, and also provides a button for the PayPal option. Bob has some final formatting to do, but its launch is getting close, and membership will be notified when it is up and running. Bob thanked Rich AD0SN for his help in the PayPal setup and with virtual testing.
The business portion of the meeting was adjourned at 10:08 AM.
Choosing Your First Radio presented by SARA member Mark KE0QQN.
Mark presented an informative discussion regarding the rigors of being a new ham and choosing your first (and later second, third, etc.) radio. Mark noted that he recently became involved in amateur radio when his son and SARA member Chris KE0QQM was pursuing his radio merit badge in Scouts. Mark highly recommended an ARRL publication available to non-ARRL members on the ARRL website entitled “Choosing a Ham Radio.” The publication was co-authored by SARA’s very own Greg W0GW, and can be found at www.arrl.org/buying-your-first-radio. Mark discussed the advantages, and disadvantages, of choosing an HT versus a mobile/base station VHF/UHF radio. Also the question of new or used was discussed.
The program was concluded at 10:45 AM.
Meeting attendance: 28
Informal Board Discussion
Immediately following the membership meeting a short discussion was had by available Board members about completing the PayPal option web page. Bob W0GAF described the current status of the website pages. It was agreed that, due to the charges made by PayPal to SARA for use of its service, a $1.00 service fee was reasonable. Doug N9TOW agreed to look into obtaining an SSL certificate for encryption of the data sent via the online application form. Joe KC0OIO and Doug agreed to make test dues payments using the PayPal option. Joe agreed to update the version of WordPress used by the SARA website.
Board members in attendance: Joe KC0OIO, Bob W0GAF; Dave N9JNQ, Rich AD0SN, and Doug N9TOW. The discussion concluded at 11:38 AM.